EAST CORINTH - With a few days to burn between the VT race and the World Cup in Quebec, Adam and I made a side trip to his Grandma's house in rural Maine (East Corinth). Here we could get some recovery miles in the rolling hills and let our bug bites heal from an early trip to Mt Snow. Adam warned me that his Aunt Suzanne would be around and always baking desserts, and he wasn't kidding. There were lots of longing looks as I watched AC have another serving of Éclair pie. Instead I sipped diet root beer, attempting to be Mr. Serious Bikeracer.
After a couple of days of this, I cracked halfway through a three hour ride and purchased my first "whoopie pie". Now a whoopie pie isn't really a pie, it's more like a hand-held cake devised of chocolate cake with white frosting in the middle. Looks like a cross between an Oreo and a discus. They're everywhere in Maine, and for good reason. Twenty minutes after the whoopie, I was a new man. Instead of taking a nap in the park, I completed the ride! Thanks, Whoopie Pie!
After a few days of R&R we loaded up and headed for Mont St. Anne, a four hour drive north. Since we wanted the most exciting experience possible (and we're dumbasses) we left at 10pm, just as the local wildlife was waking up and looking for dinner. Before the border I deftly avoided 18 Moose, 6 foxes, 4 deer, and possibly a partridge in a pear tree. Fifty MPH on a straight highway has never felt so exhilarating! One time I saw something small moving on the ground. They were moose feet. By the time I realized this, the top part of the animal was obscured by the rearview mirror. I'd say it was 27 feet tall, give or take. Biggest moose I've ever seen. But I'm not from Maine, so I haven't seen many Meese.
St Anne was beautiful this year. Not too hot, not too wet and they took out the butt-puckering rooted mayhem sections that terrify people (not just me). Adam was pissed. This is his home course, even though it's in French Canada, and they took out his favorite bits, the ones where he gets to make me and most everyone else look like a pathetic Triathalete lost in the woods. Instead of utterly shocking technical sections, there were just regular technical sections. I was excited, oh, I mean, yeah, that sucks they took all the FUN parts out, yeah.
The course boiled down to 7 laps at about 18 minutes per. With all the new trails getting hacked to bejeezus, it was good to have the Anthems in tow. We set up the Fox shocks with quite a bit of pro-pedal for the climbs and the Anthems took the edge off of the rough new descents. This set us up to run a little higher pressure in the tires, which proved to be important on a day when there were lots of guys getting wheels in the tech-zones.
The race start was chaotic, but after the last three WCs in Europe, it seemed as calm as a well rehearsed fire drill. Nobody crashing, nobody cutting the course, no kicking, cursing, no losing 5 minutes in the first 8 minutes, no getting my bike hooked on anybody's armpit, no running for 5 minutes at a time, just hard, dusty, aggressive racing. AC came through the first lap around 30th, I was in the 50s. Not a bad place to start.
As the laps ticked off, we both moved up. AC into the top ten, me into 40th. Meanwhile at the front, Sauser and Killeen were off the front and dominating. Good to see that the two guys who mopped the floor with us last week just happen to be the fastest dudes on the planet. On the last lap I took advantage of some fast starters who unraveled in the last minutes to finish 36th. Not bad, but not 25th, which was just 2 minutes faster over the 2:15 course. AC finished 9th, a few spots back from last year's result, but a damn good ride in a stacked field.
With two weekends to go till our National Championships in Sonoma, both of us are excited about our "better late than never" form. AC's gonna go race Park City (possibly on a surprising bike) and I'm gonna go home and do a ton of intervals and try to eat less. And think a lot about whoopie pies.
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